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[personal profile] sunflowerp
I stopped in the middle of reading my f'list, to make this post.

[livejournal.com profile] elorie has an excellent post up. The bit of it that made me stop reading and start writing was this:
"Not only is it possible to be a feminist and disagree with feminists, if you've ever actually followed what goes on in feminist organizations, it's almost a necessary condition."

Too often, women are deterred from identifying as feminists because they've encountered the idea that feminism requires strict adherence to some or another ideological orthodoxy. This isn't just some straw feminist that antifeminists have constructed out of hot air and blown out their arses. Feminists who use "Not a Real FeministTM" to shame and bully those who disagree with them into silence, alas, really do exist; the antifeminists didn't have to invent them. Though silencing is explicitly something we're fighting, and the tactic could be considered directly unfeminist, I'm not going to turn that one around; those who use that tactic may very well be, in other respects, quite legitimately feminist, and even valuable assets to the movement.

They are, however, assholes (I'm onside with Belledame here: I Blame The Assholes). They may be no less "real" as feminists than I am, but they're also no more real; no one died and appointed them Goddess, they aren't the arbiters of Feminist Orthodoxy, they don't have the authority to speak for all feminists or all women.

Personally, I think it's great that feminists disagree, that it's more accurate to speak of "feminisms" in the plural. I learn a lot more from intelligent and civil disagreement - which can sometimes be quite heated; "civil" doesn't mean "in soothing tones" - than from everyone nodding and smiling and going along with whatever the Orthodoxy of the Day is, and I believe the movement as a whole, a grand, diverse, lively, fractious whole, can learn more that way too.

The bit I quoted from Elorie, I believe, is vitally important; it should be said, as often as necessary and as loudly as necessary, until it displaces the idea that being a feminist means agreeing with other feminists. I commented just that, on her LJ, and then the implications of it struck me - so I stopped reading, and started writing.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-06-05 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arianadawnhawk.livejournal.com
I'm with you on this one. I remembered being very excited about feminism until I ran into the sort of theory that's all about women being nurturing, period. I'm all for various parts of *human* potential being valued, and I get that nurturing isn't always, but it struck me as the same as the traditional Catholic rhetoric I had walked away from. And it didn't ring true. (You know, that whole warrior path thing? Yeah. Doesn't make me a tool of the patriarchy, or something.)

It took me awhile, but I finally figured out that feminism isn't a huge monolithic thing. Yay! I really don't like those.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-06-06 08:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arianadawnhawk.livejournal.com
Well, I do have this tendency to overgeneralize from a small set of examples. I think the "monolith" was more my assumptions and the fact that I hadn't really been exposed to diversity of theories at the time. (I was in high school - a year and some later my psych class cured me of that. :) )

I came across this idea first in the book Dancing at the Edge of the World by Ursula K. LeGuin. Especially in the essays she wrote around the time she was working on Always Coming Home. Which, aside from the OMGEvilPatriarchalWarriorCultureOMGWarriorPathsAreBad! bits (ok, the second part of that is my reading of it and I might have misinterpreted) is a pretty cool book written in a pretty cool way. I really like her writing in generally, and I should really reread her essays on place, but...essentialism doesn't do it for me. Being told how I should think and talk because I happen to be biologically female really doesn't do it for me. Ptooie indeed.

Yes, I have come across the ideas in some "women's spirituality" stuff. Also, in a bit of Catholic feminism.

The funny thing about this whole issue is that a good portion of the stuff I do that I consider "nurturing" (so, mentoring and such) is deeply tied in with my warrior path.

As I've written before, I can figure out human traits. I can point out "masculine and feminine" by cultural expectations, sort of. (And tell you some cultures that do it differently.) But I can't figure out what "masculine" and "feminine" mean, especially as relates to me.

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